ONE WEEK Elysia Crampton + Joanne @ Fuse Art Space

 

Next week, UML are really excited to be bringing Elysia Crampton to Fuse Art Space in Bradford for her only show in the North of England. Read all about it below:

ELYSIA CRAMPTON
performing ‘Dissolution of The Sovereign: A Time Slide Into The Future’

Elysia Crampton is a Bolivian-American musician and producer based in California. She has been creating music for years, recontextualising vocals from artists like Brandy and Rihanna into something a lot more uncanny. Since 2015 she has released two albums (American Drift and Elysia Crampton presents: Demon City), both drawing on influences as disparate as nu-metal, crunk and cumbia, which have brought her a much-deserved higher profile.

Performing a live A/V set, ‘Dissolution of The Sovereign: A Time Slide Into The Future’, “a mini pop epic that works alongside Demon City“, the work is Elysia’s attempt to bridge the Aymara oral history tradition/theater legacy with her own trans femme abolitionist grasp of futurity, always amidst the cataclysmic, irreducible horizon of coloniality.

JOANNE

Joanne uses algorithms to drive hardware synthesisers, projecting her code for your pleasure. Her sets shift between cracking noise and drone to fragmented beats. Drawing inspiration from the instability of her technologies, she writes code that challenges the sonic potential of her machines.

Recommended entry donation: £7

ACCESSIBILITY AND SAFER SPACES POLICY 

Fuse is fully accessible. The entrance door is at ground level with no steps, as is the gig space. There is a gender-neutral, disabled toilet onsite too. If you have any further questions, don’t hesitate to get in contact with us at: leedsuml@gmail.com

UML operates a zero tolerance policy on all forms of prejudiced behaviours, including, but not limited to, racism (and micro-aggressions), sexism, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia, ableism. Do not make any assumptions about your peers (including their gender), and respect their physical and emotional boundaries. If you experience any kind of behaviour that makes you feel uncomfortable, you are invited to come to us (one of us will be stood at the ticket desk at all times) in confidence, and we will do all that we can to seek a solution as swiftly as possible.

We are going to be doing a walking bus of sorts from Leeds to Fuse for anyone who hasn’t been there before, so look out for a post on the Facebook event assembling a squad at the beginning of next week. Alternatively, you can pop us an email at leedsuml@gmail.com if you are interested in getting involved. A group of us will also be heading down to catch Equiknoxx at Clarks afterwards, so come along for an evening of Excellent Content :~~~~)

We have both American Drift and Elysia Crampton Presents: Demon City available for loan in the library, so pop up and give them a listen if you haven’t already! They’re both really good, and we’re not just saying that. If you don’t believe us, check out our review of her latest release (and the album she will be performing next week), Elysia Crampton Presents: Demon City


Elysia Crampton – Elysia Crampton Presents: Demon City

I know someone who got trapped on Small World at Disneyland for two hours and I imagine the experience not to be too dissimilar to a listen of Elysia Crampton’s Demon City: hypnotising, overwhelming, terrifying, yet, ultimately, a fun time (I love Small World). Crampton’s second full-length release takes its listener on a journey to the deepest, darkest depths of the underworld and back, serving equally as a narrative than as some good music. The album a collection of collaborative efforts, its first track, ‘Irreducible Horizon’ with Why Be, fastens our seatbelts whilst simultaneously signalling available emergency exits, easing us into our voyage layering synth, off-key piano, drum, and distorted vocal loops over a bassy purr.

The following track, ‘After Woman’, is a bit like what the 1960s thought the future would sound like: industrial, metallic, clunky, manufactured. The longest on the album, Crampton and Rabit hold our hand guiding us through arrivals to a soundtrack of looped strings, synths, and silvery percussion, with warped vocal samples and booming wobble bass a stark reminder of our final destination.

Indeed, it is ‘Dummy Track’ that fully transports us to Crampton’s Demon City, its punchy, acoustic hand drums accompanying the fiendish, bellowing laughter of those who reside there. Highly percussive, arguably ritualistic, it is easily the most danceable track on the album, yet manages to challenge everything we thought we knew about the classic euphoric club anthem; our awareness of both our manufactured surroundings and ourselves disable us from reaching a real state of ecstasy, with Crampton’s team of ghouls forcing us back to consciousness every time we begin to slip out of it.

‘The Demon City’ reeks of system, structure, and routine, a nu-baroque piece of sorts, with ominous, looping synths akin of Bach. Warning us we are entering “the darkest hour”, we are thrown into ‘Children of Hell’, its polyphonic saxophone riff an immediate indicator of what a ridiculous track is to come; working alongside Chino Amobi, the two producers make use of all your favourite music tech software pre-sets, obnoxiously pilling everything on top of each other resulting in a really intense three minutes of listening.

Crampton flirts with these sounds again, this time alongside Lexxi, on ‘Exposas 2013’, the album’s penultimate track. Juxtaposing orchestral and PC start-up recordings, the title marks a quasi rebirth, or at least the beginning of an escape from Demon City; playful and celebratory uses of air-horn and ray-gun samples mark our victory over making it out alive, relaying all that we had to overcome to do so.

Earlier this year, Crampton wrote, “I was taught from an early age that mobility is key to survival”, and as a trans femme person of colour survival is more than just a theme in her work; few listeners can relate to Crampton’s lived experiences, however this album helps us to begin to understand them.

Lexxi’s ‘Red Eyez’ is a nice finish to the record; listening to it makes me feel like I’m in a tiny shrunken aircraft flying out of Demon City and back into the Real World, a bit like in Fantastic Voyage (or the Fantastic Voyage Simpsons Treehouse of Horror skit) which I guess in a sense I am.

Ending somewhat abruptly, we find ourselves left sitting in silence for a good few minutes before realising we’re even doing so, and this is probably for the best. A bit like exiting a film, or a ride at Disneyland, you leave having listened to Demon City fuzzy and blank; within the space of thirty minutes, Crampton takes us on a masterfully curated, whirlwind of a ride, leaving us disjointed, disorientated, and vulnerable. She’s spoken about the “honour in survival”, a sentiment which rings true amongst her listeners, left only to begin to try to re-adjust to the Real World once the album has finished.

Annabel Amin

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